How to EQ your Tracks Like a Pro - (MIDI and Audio)


Hey everyone.

Thank you so much, I have just reached 130 subscribers thanks to your help!

Today I have uploaded this video that shows my process when EQing both a midi track and a basic live recording, which I think will be the sensation that a lot of you will face when recording an artist. (Please excuse the cheesy Ukulele playing :stuck_out_tongue:

If you know anyone who might find this helpful, please feel free to share it with them. Thank you!

I kept the libraries I used very attainable.

Albion 1
SF Studio strings
Caspian brass
Flow motion bass Sound(custom made)
Serum delay pad (custom made)
Addictive keys piano

Audio sources were voice and Ukulele (live)

Oh, and before I forget, the track that I mentioned was from the intro of merlin. I haven’t listened to it for sxwhile but I felt inspired to add bits that I remembered that I felt were appropriate for the piece :smiley:

Here’s the track! Merlin title track!

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Good stuff again! Do you typically EQ each instrument separately or do you tend to bus groups like strings, brass, woodwind, etc. and then work on taking out what you do need/need more of in each group? I usually bus my strings, brass, and woodwinds separately and then other individual instruments ( perc, piano etc.) on their own.

I have a fear though of too much EQ; if I set up like above and then add EQ on a reverb bus that might be overkill? Always my main glitch is setting up epic percussion to blend.

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Hey Matt, I do it exactly like this. I EQ on the bus first and if I know there’s another more specific issue I will focus on the track that’s causing that issue.

I like to use the reneissance EQ most of the time because you can’t see how much you are taking out as clearly, so taking say 12db out isn’t as scary, and sometimes it’s needed, as you seen in the ukulele stem :slight_smile: if a few instruments were in the way of something I wanted more prominent in the midi id have no issue doing the same to a few tracks. :slight_smile:

By all means EQ your verb, I ALWAYS do this. Typically all you need is a high and low pass on them which reverbs generally have built in these days. That will really clean up your mix.

What I’m planning is to do this as a breakdown series. So I’ll add more instruments to flesh it out this week and then we will move onto saturation and compression for the next video. Then we will do another video the week after on something else but reverb will be the last video as it’s always the last thing I add.

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I think you are doing it exactly right btw. Busses are the best way to do this. Obviously I’m ising Logics summing folders which are exactly the same as summing your sections to a bus. So keep up the great work :smiley:

Hey Geoff,
this video is absoltely awesome and doesn’t leave questions open.
Thank you so much for sharing this, it helps me totally.
A funny thing was, that I watched it on my mobile, and you said, “do you hear the difference” and I was like… Hm… No :smiley:
I also liked the textual explanations. That was really great!

Again, Well done my friend, Please keep it up,
Thank you so much
Michael

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Hahaha, I love you watched it on your phone and heard no difference :stuck_out_tongue: so funny!

Really glad this helped you and if you get a chance to watch it a few times with some good headphones you will hear the difference.

I’m getting a bit more confident in how I’m explaining things now, which is down to you guys giving me your feedback. So if this is working then I’ll start to refine this as much as I can in the future! :smiley:

The next video will be cool as you’ll hear how I manipulate the track with compression and saturation to really bring out the bits I want you to hear.

In my eyes EQ is all about clarity, not accentuating things… that is what saturation and automation a is all about :smiley:

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True. And you really get it to explain in 20 Minutes - it can be so easy. Of course there is a lot of ear training, but your tips on what to look for makes it a lot easier, and I feel, I get better at it with every tip and every example I am listening to.
Thanks again, you are so awesome.

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That’s great! Thank you so much for your kind words. It does take time to train your ears… and eventually you’ll get to the point where it’s headphones and speakers that need to be upgraded so you can hear more clearly. But right now you are coming along from strength to strength and it’s awesome to see!

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I hadn’t thought about this, but I made some small notes on the key parts that I focus on when I EQ my tracks. Obviously not all of the ifo in the video is here at all… but this does show my thought process.

Youtube EQ episode Notes

  • [ ] How to EQ
    • [ ] Midi
      • High pass
      • Low pass
      • Fundamental
    • [ ] Audio (recorded)
      • High pass
      • Room resonances (explain)
      • Buildups (explain the difference

How do we know when to EQ?

  1. When something is distracting
    • Sometimes things like ringing frequencies pull out attention away from what we should be listening to.
    • When this happens, find that frequency and pull it down/cut it out.
  2. When you can hear more of an instrument you don’t want to hear, instead of the one you actually want to hear.
    • This happens with broad spectrum instruments like piano. They take up so much sonic space that even at the right level they can be too loud. Ducking the fundamental of both the frequency of the piano and the track you want to hear (still in the piano part)Will fix this.
  3. When you need to turn an instrument up but it’s already loud enough.
    • Just boosting the main fundamental frequencies will give a. Instrument more prescience without adding additional high end frequencies.

How much EQ is too much?

  • A lot of Youtubers talk about the fact that it’s all about what sounds good. This is very true, though there is a limit to how much you can take out before the sound you started with becomes a completely new sound. That can be as small as a 1db mid cut and a 1db high shelf depending on the sound. It’s all about how we approach EQing, rather than what is too much EQ.

I tend to use the Valhalla Room reverb a lot and I know it has a built-in high pass or high cut or something, but I’m not sure exactly where to set it at. It’s usually pre-set at 8kHz but I think i tend to raise it a bit more to around 11kHz. Most of the time though I use your advise and put an EQ plugin after the verb and take out everything below 300Hz and above ~5kHz.

Need to get better at the instrument EQing though. I’m not precise enough to do those little subtractions or additions. I just take out the extreme lows and highs to get rid of noise.

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Yeah you can do exactly the same with Valhalla’s room :slight_smile:

Getting rid of the lows and the highs is 60% of the work id say… at least it is with midi :slight_smile: take a doin me listen to where I accent the boosted frequency in the strings… of it sounds like that when you boost then you have a good idea that it might need pulling down at that frequency a little.

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The only time I’ve really gone in with a seperate EQ on my verb and took out additional frequencies is when I’m doing a huge track (200 tracks plus). Then I get a big build up around 500/700hz in the verb and I duck that.

Now I’ve complicated the process…I’ve just bought the Abby Roads J37 tape emulator and added it to my mastering bus inside DoricoPro with the Golden Age of Hollywood style piece I’m writing and man, did it make the whole thing sound like it was recored in the 1960’s! Wow! I hope there’s not more EQing that needs to be done to this😅

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Lol the J37 is awesome. Sometimes I use it too. Make sure you gain stage so it compresses correctly. The VU meter should be peaking at between 0db and +3 :slight_smile: sounds weird but that how they have programmed it. So set a gain before it on the master and boost until you get that, and then afterwards with pull your output in the plugin down by the same amount or use another gain plugin to do that for you :slight_smile: I’ll do a vid on this at some point too.

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Cool, I’ll give it a try!

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